Tetherball

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Napoleon_tetherball.jpg
Two characters in Napoleon Dynamite get ready to play tetherball.

Tetherball (also known as swingball) is a game for two opposing players. The equipment consists of a 10 ft (3 m), stationary metal pole, from which is hung a ball from a rope, or tether. The two players stand on opposite sides of the pole. Each player tries to hit the ball one way; one clockwise, and one counterclockwise. The game ends when one player manages to wind the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope.

Contents

Rules

The game begins when one player serves the ball, usually by holding it in one hand and hitting it with the other. The opposing player then attempts to return the serve by hitting it in the opposite direction. The object is to hit the ball in such a way that one's opponent will be unable to alter the ball's direction; this gives the server an advantage since the server has more control over the ball from the beginning. It is generally acceptable to hit the ball with either the fist or the open hand.

A player can commit a violation by stepping onto his opponent's half of the pole, by catching and throwing ("carrying") the ball, by striking the rope instead of the ball, or by hitting the ball twice before it has either circled the pole or been returned by the opponent. Generally, after a violation occurs, the game pauses and the ball is returned to the position it was in before the violation; the number of wraps around the pole is re-created. The player who did not commit the violation then serves the ball. If, however, the violation appears to be intentional, it may result in loss of game.

The game ends when one player hits the ball around the pole in their own direction as far as it will go, so that the ball hits the pole. A match can consist of one, three, five, or more games.

Equipment

Tetherball requires only a stationary pole, a rope, and a ball. Originally a volleyball was used, but today many sporting goods manufacturers make tetherballs specifically out of a butyl bladder and a rubber cover. The ball is roughly the size and weight of a volleyball, but is somewhat firmer. Tetherballs usually have a bar recessed in the top that the rope is tied to. Some simply have loops that protrude out, but this is less common as striking the loop with the hand can be painful. This website (http://www.shapeupshop.com/games/tetherball.html) shows a variety of tetherball equipment.

The pole must be 10 feet (3 m) high and completely stationary, meaning that it must either be weighed down (often by a concrete-filled tire), or, in more serious tetherball courts, embedded in the ground. The rope is generally slender nylon, and is long enough that the ball hangs 2 ft (0.6 m) above the ground.

Tetherball is played on many surfaces: sand, gravel, lawn, asphalt, or others. Since it requires only a small area to play in, it can also be played indoors.

An alternate version of the game uses a smaller, softer ball that the players strike with racquets. Generally the ball used for these games is an old tennis ball, and the racquets can come from ping-pong or games with similar paddles.

Organizations

Tetherball is still an informal sport, and has not seen any organization beyond contests within schools, summer camps, or towns. Tetherball leagues are extremely rare. Professional tetherball simply does not exist.

External links

  • The Total Tetherball website (http://www.toteth.com) — an thorough guide to the sport of tetherball, and a major source for this article
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